Chelsea have been dealt a major blow in the race to sign Erling Haaland in the summer transfer window, with Borussia Dortmund reportedly ruling out a sale.
The Blues have made a new striker one of their top priorities for the upcoming window, with Olivier Giroud and Tammy Abraham set to leave Stamford Bridge.
Timo Werner has also failed to deliver the goals expected of him since he joined Chelsea from RB Leipzig, with the only other forward option being Kai Havertz.
With Thomas Tuchel hoping to launch a challenge for the Premier League title next season, a consistent goalscorer will be critical to those plans.
Haaland would certainly fit that bill, having scored 41 goals in 41 games in all competitions for Dortmund this season.
That helped the Black and Yellow to finish in the top four of the Bundesliga and also win their first major trophy since 2017.
His astonishing goal return in the Bundesliga has led to the Norwegian striker long being linked with a departure in the summer.
Many of Europe’s leading clubs are interested in signing the 20-year-old, including Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester City.
But with Barca and Real in serious financial trouble and City now targeting Harry Kane, it is Chelsea who have emerged as the frontrunners for Haaland.
While Dortmund’s valuation of £150million would put a serious dent in Tuchel’s budget, unlike their rivals it is a fee that Chelsea could easily afford.
The Blues have also moved to improve their relationship with Haaland’s agent Mino Raiola in preparation for a deal.
But a major blow has now been dealt to their hopes of bringing Haaland to England, with The Athletic reporting that Dortmund have "ruled out" a sale this summer.
In a cruel twist of fate, this is due to Haaland’s goals helping Dortmund to finish third and thus secure Champions League football next season.
With the money from that competition coming in, a sale of one of the biggest assets and arguably their best player is no longer necessary.
Haaland also still has three years left on his current contract, with his release clause not being activated until next summer.
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